Nov. 14, 2018
Weekly Fishing Report
This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Nov. 14, 2018. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email AGFCfishingreport@outlook.com with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news.
Arkansas River and White River levels are available at: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk
For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/rt
For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality
NOTICE: An irrigation restriction on Lake Conway will be in effect through March 1, 2019. The irrigation restriction will allow the AGFC to apply Environmental Protection Agency-approved aquatic herbicides to treat and reduce the spread of alligator weed, a non-native, invasive aquatic plant. Herbicides used will not cause harm to aquatic organisms, such as fish, and are not harmful to people or wildlife that may come into contact with treated vegetation or water. Herbicides that will be used have up to a 120-day irrigation restriction after application. Therefore, the AGFC strongly recommends adjacent landowners DO NOT irrigate water from Lakes Conway for lawn or garden use during this period.
(updated 11-14-2018) Bates Field and Stream (501-470-1846) said the clarity is stained and the lake level as of Tuesday was high. No surface temperature was recorded. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. Bream are fair, mostly slow. No reports on bass. Catfishing is good with minnows and nightcrawlers.
(updated 11-14-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) in Benton said that at the Gold Creek area of Lake Conway, No. 4 crappie minnows have been providing several of her customers with some very nice crappie. “I heard it has been pretty packed,” she said. “Another one of my customers also on the No. 4 crappie minnows has done well on Lake Ouachita over the brushtops.”
Little Red River
(updated 11-14-2018) Greg Seaton of littleredflyfishingtrips.com (501-690-9166) said Tuesday that due to the lake being 3 feet above normal, the Army Corps of Engineers informed him that full generation (two units, 6,200 cfs) was to start Tuesday, Nov. 13, on a 24/7 basis. They were to add flood gates to this generation Wednesday for a total flow of approximately 8,000 cfs. This will continue until Monday, Nov. 19, when it will decrease back to the 12-hour generation schedule. This plan is to have the lake back to normal by Thanksgiving. At this time, the generation should be based on demand only. Check the daily schedules for time and amount of generation. “Be safe on the river,” Greg urges. “An 8,000 cfs flow is a strong current and dangerous. Obstacles along the bank and docks can be very hazardous if your boat should drift into the upstream side of these. The current will capsize the boat and push it under the obstacle. This is true for any size craft, including river boats. With the cold weather and high water, it may be wise to wait a week on your fishing trip.”
(updated 11-14-2018) Lowell Myers of Sore Lip’em All Guide Service said the Army Corps of Engineers will be releasing water from the Greers Ferry Dam from both power units plus spillway gates through the weekend. This will create dangerous wading and boating conditions. If you do fish these conditions, you will want to use long leaders and heavy weight using egg patterns, San Juan worms and micro jigs. Pounding the banks with streamers is also an effective fly-fishing method during high-water conditions. For Trout Magnet fishing use long leaders and heavy weight, using bright colored bodies on silver and chartreuse jigheads. Concentrate on pools along the banks. Key for both fly-fishing and Trout Magnet fishing during heavy generation is the ability to get and maintain a good presentation of the fly or Trout Magnet. Always check before heading to the Little Red River by calling the Corps of Engineers Little Rock District water data system (501-362-5150) for Greers Ferry Dam water release information or check the Corps of Engineers website (swl-wc.usace.army.mil) for real-time water release and the Southwestern Power Administration website (swpa.gov) to see forecasted generation schedule.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 464.98 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 462.04 feet msl Oct. 1-April 30; 463.04 feet msl May 1-June 1; 462.54 feet msl June 1-Sept. 30).
(updated 11-14-2018) Tommy Cauley of Fishfinder Guide Service (501-940-1318) said the water level at Greers Ferry Lake is 464.98 feet msl and it’s steadily trying to come up even with 12 hours of generation a day. The lake on Tuesday was 2.94 feet above normal pool and has risen a little over 4 feet so far with more rain in forecasts. Also, the overall bite is going to be great until it gets super cold in January with very few people on the water at all. The overall bite is good but with the generation and extra surface acres they are at, most of the game fish are random roaming feeding. The crappie bite is still going good up all rivers and creeks around the pole timber and man-made brush piles in about 12 feet of water on jigs and minnows. No report on walleye. Bream are still eating but most have moved a little deeper or to 18-20 feet; use crawlers and crickets on a drop-shot. Black bass are scattered from the bank out to 60 feet. Just about any lure is working, with some schooling fish as well. No report on catfish. The hybrid and white bass bite is going good all day at different times, with a heavy feed going on and some topwater action as well. They are moving from 25-60 feet. It’s kind of hard to stay with them. Just stay with the shad and use spoons, inline spinners and topwater baits.
Harris Brake Lake
(updated 11-14-2018) Harris Brake Lake Resort (501-889-2745) said the water is murky and the level is high. No surface temperature was reported. Bream are fair on worms. Crappie are poor. Bass reports also were poor. Catfish are good on minnows.
NOTICE: An irrigation restriction on Lake Overcup will be in effect through March 1, 2019. The irrigation restriction will allow the AGFC to apply Environmental Protection Agency-approved aquatic herbicides to treat and reduce the spread of alligator weed, a non-native, invasive aquatic plant. Herbicides used will not cause harm to aquatic organisms, such as fish, and are not harmful to people or wildlife that may come into contact with treated vegetation or water. Herbicides that will be used have up to a 120-day irrigation restriction after application. Therefore, the AGFC strongly recommends adjacent landowners DO NOT irrigate water from Lakes Overcup for lawn or garden use during this period.
(updated 10-31-2018) Johnny “Catfish” Banks at Overcup Bait Shop and R.V. Park (501-354-9007) said water level is high by about 2 feet and clarity is good. Surface temperature is around 65 degrees. Crappie have slowed down a little from the warmer days but anglers are still catching some good ones in 6-12 feet of water fishing 4-8 feet deep. Bream are doing well on crickets and redworms. Bass are still chasing shad. Catfish are being caught on trotlines with bream and minnows, and also on rod-and-reels using chicken livers around the cypress trees. “I caught a 31-pound blue, and another gentleman had his limit three times on rod-and-reels,” Johnny says.
(updated 11-7-2018) Larry Walters at Bones Bait Shop (501-354-9900) said that anglers aren’t doing too well there right now because the water is 3 feet high and needs to come down. Clarity is muddy. Bass reports were poor and nothing else was reported in the past few days. This was coming off a couple of weeks where Larry said he noted a lot of hungry fish in the lake. Before all the water, crappie and bass had both been good, as well as good reports on catfish.
(updated 11-14-2018) WestRock Landing (501-658-5598), formerly Jolly Roger’s Marina, says water temperatures are in the low 60s. Largemouth bass are good. With the water temperatures in the low 60s some bass are being caught in 8-12 feet as well as some being found suspended off creek channels at 18-20 feet, but it’s a slow hit. Try using crankbaits, spoons and swim jigs. Kentucky bass are good. They are mixed in with the largemouths, but most can be found in 8-12 feet of water. Try fishing shallow with running baits and off structures with swim jigs. White bass reports are poor. Some anglers are saying the white bass are in suspended schools, but it’s tough getting a bite. Crappie are good. Crappie are trying to stabilize in their regular fall pattern. Reports of them being found on top of deeper brush suspended about 18-22 feet of water. Try using jigs and minnows. Search for sharper ledges and deeper brush. Bream are poor. Fewer reports coming in this week. Some are still catching bream on redworms. No reports on catfish.
(updated 11-14-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie have been slow but are biting No. 4 crappie minnows. No report of bream. Bass are doing well on brooder minnows. Catfish are fair on bait shrimp and nightcrawlers . This is an AGFC Family and Community Fishing Program pond. It's located on Henry Street off Fairfield Road past the Saline County Fairgrounds from I-30. It is stocked by the AGFC with catfish every so often (you can go to Arkansas Game and Fish stock ponds to pull up the dates they stock it and others like it in the state). You can go to the AGFC Fishing Guide Book on Page 69 to see the limits on fish for it. It also has a paved 1-mile walking trail all the way around it. There are picnic tables, a pavilion, fishing pier and a boat ramp. Waters are open to electric trolling motors only. Sunset Lake is about 8 minutes or less from Lisa’s shop, she says.
Bishop Park Ponds
(updated 11-14-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said she hasn’t heard any recent reports from Bishop Park Ponds lately. She says, “These are located over off Boone Road in Bryant. It's about 11 mins from my shop.” Go down I-30 south, turn onto Alcoa Road, turn onto Boone Road, and from there you will see signs. It will be on your right across from some apartment buildings. The front pond they call Lake Norma will be on the left front side of the park. If you go into the park past all the buildings you will come to a dead end and there you will see the back pond that they call Lake Charles. It is the bigger of the two. They both actually feed off of Hurricane Creek, which runs up behind them and which feeds off of Hurricane Lake. “Some very nice crappie have come out of Lake Charles. As far as regulations, if not posted nor in the AGFC Fishing Guide Book, then you go by the state regulations found on Page 8 of the guide book. The only time I know of it being stocked with catfish is in September for their Bryant Fall Feast.”
Saline River Access in Benton
(updated 11-14-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said, “To be honest with you, I haven't heard any reports from there lately. But as soon as the water gets back down, and with the cold weather, the walleye will be on. We use 8-pound clear Trilene XL line, 84A Eagle Claw bronze plain shank hook and a small removable split shot. Hook a brooder minnow on through its mouth, go up under its mouth out through one of its nose holes, and throw it out there and let it go.” Crappie are good on the Saline, also. If you’re able to get into them, you can catch some nice ones. The Kentucky bass and smallmouth bass, too, love the brooder minnows. “We catch them lots of times while walleye fishing,” Lisa said. As far as accesses for the Saline, you have what most locals call Jackmon Trail – you go right past Sunset Lake, the gravel road will take you right up under the I-30 bridge to the boat ramp. “I have had people actually fish right there at the boat ramp with the brooders and catch walleye,” Lisa said. “Or you can put in and go right on up over to the other side of the I-30 up to the spillway and there is great fishing up there. October through February usually are the better times to really get into the walleye on the Saline.” Another access to put in on the Saline is at Lyle Park. It's about 9 minutes from Lisa’s Bait Shop, off I-30 onto Hot Springs Highway/state Highway 5. Turn off the interstate at Waffle House, go to the red light, turn right at the light. You will past Miller Cove and Hidden Valley, then you will see Lyle Park Road on your left. Go straight on it till you see the river. It's actually on 2 River Crest Circle. There are picnic tables and a boat ramp, and Saline River Canoe is located to the right of the boat ramp. Another boat access for the Saline River is Peeler Bend. Take Exit 116 off I-30, then head south on what was old U.S. 67. The highway veers from the interstate and crosses the Saline River. About a half-mile, you will see on your right Peeler Bend Road. From there you just follow the road about 4 miles and it dead-ends at the Peeler Bend Access. The boat ramp is nice but it is long and kind of narrow. “The Saline River is really a great place to fish and has so many different kinds of fish to fish for,” Lisa says. “Plus, it's just a beautiful river to go and enjoy. You can check out the regulations on Page 78 for the Saline River in the AGFC’s Fishing Guide Book.”
(updated 11-14-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie fair on No. 6 crappie minnows. Bass are fair on No. 12 bass minnows. Catfish are being caught off of nightcrawlers. Lake Norrell is about 13 miles from Lisa’s shop. Take Congo Road out to the red light at the Salem Citgo, turn left and follow that road until you reach the fire station. There is a yield sign, but that is only for traffic going onto Steelbridge Road. Continue around that curve, then you will have a straight stretch before coming to a crossroads. Turn left between a little store with gas pumps in front and Avilla Mercantile across from it. Remain on that road until you come to a white church at the bottom of the hill where the road comes to a “Y.” Go left and just continue until you arrive at the lake. It is 280-acre lake. “When bream season is here, it's the best place to go after the big redear with crickets fishing bottom,” Lisa says.
(updated 11-14-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said crappie are fair on minnows and red/chartreuse jigs. Fish the east end of the lake for best success.
(updated 11-14-2018) Hatchet Jack’s in North Little Rock (501-758-4958) says catfishing is fair around the gazebo. Use chicken liver or nightcrawlers.
(updated 11-14-2018) Hatchet Jack’s in North Little Rock (501-758-4958) says bass are good around the spillway. Anglers are using Texas Ridge creature baits or deep-diving crankbaits. Catfishing is fair around the launch ramp. Try using minnows or nighcrawlers.
(updated 11-14-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) said crappie do well off various-size minnows. “It’s really weird. While some will catch them off of No. 4 crappie minnows, others catch them off of the No. 12 bass minnows.” Bass are easily caught off of No. 6 crappie minnows and catfish do well off of bait shrimp. Lisa says Lake Winona is a good ways off paved road, “like 7 miles of gravel, I have heard.” It is 35 miles west of Little Rock in the Ouachita National Forest. There are crappie, bream, bass, walleye and catfish in it. Page 71 of the AGFC Fishing Guide Book has fish limits and boat length regulations for the lake. “I do know that from what the regulars tell me, you don’t want to take nice boats and trucks there.”
Arkansas River at Morrilton
(updated 11-14-2018) Charley’s Hidden Harbor at Oppelo (501-354-8080) had no report.
(updated 11-14-2018) Ray Hudson at River Valley Marina (501-517-1250) says the water clarity is clear, while the level and current are normal. Fishing remains slow, he said. Crappie are good. Nothing was reported on bass, bream, catfish or white bass.
(updated 11-14-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said crappie are excellent. Fish for the crappie at a depth of 10-12 feet. Pink minnows and white/chartreuse jigs will work best. Catfishing is fair. Use slicks or shad.
(updated 11-14-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said the crappie in the Maumelle River are excellent. They are biting pink minnows and jigs.
(updated 11-7-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said crappie are good. Jigs in black/chartreuse are working best. Expect a bite in 6-8 feet depth. Bass are good below the dam. Fish with blue/chartreuse Super Flukes. No other reports.
(updated 11-14-2018) Vince Miller from Fish ’N’ Stuff (501-834-5733) says the water is a little high but getting closer to normal. The clarity is muddy to stained. No surface temperature was reported. Crappie are good. The crappie are in 10-15 feet depth and are biting blue/chartreuse and red/chartreuse crappie jigs. Bass are good on the river in 6-8 feet depth. Anglers reported success on spinnerbaits, jerkbaits and the Little George. No reports on bream or catfish.
(updated 11-14-2018) Zimmerman’s Exxon (501-944-2527) said the stripers are biting 5-inch chartreuse grubs. Further south in the pool near Terry Lock and Dam and on the other side of the dam, crappie are good. Use black/chartreuse jigs. No other reports.
(updated 11-14-2018) Hatchet Jack’s (501-758-4948) said catfish are fair near the Murray Lock and Dam. They’re biting skipjack and slicks. White bass are good. Use chartreuse split tail jigs.
(updated 11-14-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) had no report.
Clear Lake (off Arkansas River-Little Rock Pool)
(updated 10-31-2018) McSwain Sports Center (501-945-2471) said the water is muddy to murky and the level is high. The only reports of success came with crappie. Fishing for crappie is good now; use crappie minnows. Nothing to report on bream, bass or catfish.
The lake has closed for the season and will reopen Feb. 2, 2019.
(updated 11-14-2018) Cotter Trout Dock (870-435-6525) says that after a week of some frigid mornings and a very light snow cover Monday night, the next few days will see daytime temperatures a little more conducive to spending time outdoors. All in all, though, the air temp doesn't affect the trout bite. The water level remained fairly steady each day at about 2,200 cfs (close to two-thirds of a unit generated from Bull Shoals Dam). Perfect rainbows have been attracted by nightcrawlers
for the shore anglers. If you're able to float the river and choose to fish a deep hole for a while, drop a hook with shrimp and garlic-scented PowerBait (try orange first) as near to the bottom as possible, or a river minnow. Drift anglers had luck with a No. 5 rainbow trout countdown and with 1/6-ounce Rooster Tails, gold blades and orange bodies, chartreuse and black skirts. We've had to fight for the browns; river guides have tried all the tricks in their tackle boxes to get the attention of the spawning browns. Turns out the best bites were on small to medium-sized sculpins or on an olive size 8 Woolly Bugger. “Stay warm. See you at the river.”
(updated 11-7-2018) Sportsman’s White River Resort (870-453-2424) said the river clarity continues to run clear, while the level is low with minimum flow. That’s good for rainbows, but bad for browns. Hence, results were good with rainbow catching but few reports on browns. When there are seagulls before January/February there typically are no browns biting.
(updated 11-7-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last Friday that during the past week they had a few rain events (2¼ inches in Cotter), cooler temperatures and moderate winds. The lake level at Bull Shoals rose 0.3 feet to rest at 4.2 feet below seasonal power pool of 659 feet msl. This is 40.2 feet below the top of flood pool. Upstream, Table Rock rose 0.1 feet to rest at 4.7 feet below seasonal power pool and 18.7 feet below the top of flood pool. Beaver Lake rose 0.3 feet to rest at 2.7 feet below seasonal power pool and 12.3 feet below the top of flood pool. The White River had some wadable water. Norfork Lake rose 0.6 feet to rest at 1.8 below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 28 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork River wadable water every day. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River System are now well below the top of power pool. The White has fished well. The hot spot has been Rim Shoals. They are still hitting grasshoppers for some nice topwater action. The hot flies were olive Woolly Buggers (sizes 8, 10), Y2Ks (sizes 14, 12), prince nymphs (size 14), zebra midges (black with silver wire and silver bead or red with silver wire and silver bead sizes 16, 18), pheasant tails (size 14), ruby midges (size 18), root beer midges (size 18), pink and cerise San Juan worms (size 10), and sowbugs (size 16). Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective (John’s current favorite combination is a size 14 bead-head pheasant tail nymph with a size 18 ruby midge suspended below it. Use lead to get your flies down. Remember that the White and Norfork rivers and Dry Run Creek are infected with didymo, an invasive alga. Be sure and thoroughly clean and dry your waders (especially the felt soles on wading boots) before using them in any other water. Many manufacturers are now making rubber soles that are easier to clean and are not as likely to harbor didymo.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 654.91 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 659.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-7-2018) Del Colvin at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock said the lake level is at 654 feet msl water temps around 64 degrees and fall has definitely showed up. The bite’s been hit or miss. It’s kind of power fishing, junk fishing 101. There’s not one set thing that's working. Go out and try and find the shad, cover water. There hasn't been any specific pattern that's been working for him, Del said. “The biggest thing I can tell you is fish the conditions, look for birds, you find the birds you'll see the shad. If it's laying flat you'll see a ton of shad up. I think the backs of these are starting to flip on us so it's gonna be hit or miss for us a little bit here.” Del said he expects things to pick up as the water temperature cools off a little bit. If the weather is windy, stormy or rainy, you can catch them on a spinnerbait bite now. If it's real windy and with dirty water the white spinnerbait is working. War Eagle Spinnerbait, if you’re getting into clear water, is working a little bit. Picking up a few fish on the Rock Crawler, so that bite should start getting a little better as the water cools off. Del said he likes to cover a lot of water and is throwing a square bill. Any shad or threadfin shad pattern seems to be working well, as is a Whopper Plopper. “We haven’t gotten that chaotic fall bite as of yet,” he said, “but it’s coming.” If the water is laying flat and you can see fish breaking, get in there early in the morning, there’s a good little topwater bite. If you know where there at you can get on them right away. Also, spoons that look like the bait fish – white, silver, anything that looks like the shad. Also, the jig. Del’s catching fish anywhere from 2 foot of water on gravel to 30 feet off the bluffs. There is definitely shad in the creeks, so that’s a good place to start. He also says he’s been catching a few walleye purely by accident on a spoon under the big schools of shad in the creeks, about 26-30 feet deep. “I can tell you that with all the 16- to 17-inch fish, next year should be stellar!” The lake is beautiful, you can come out and have the lake to yourself. There is lots of color.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 552.43 feet msl (normal conservation pool: September-April 552.00 feet msl; April-September, 554.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-14-2018) Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters said Norfork Lake's striper bite is moving into the winter pattern. We fished both the Calamity Beach area and Fouts Marina area. The striper bite was strong in the beginning of the week in both areas but by the end of the week the Fouts area was by far the best place to fish. This pattern is the same as it was last year. The stripers stack up in the channel from Fouts to 6B. Roaming schools of fish pass by moving into the creeks to feed. We caught them all day long each day we fished. The last good bite on Wednesday was at 3:30 in the afternoon. They will stay in waters from 28-35 feet until the bait moves out towards Crystal Cove then you should find them in 40-60 feet of water. We are using shad but shiners will be an effective substitute to shad. The best method is downlines set off the bottom about 2 feet. I also had one rod set about 20 feet down to catch the roving hybrids that are in the higher water column. Float and Panther Creeks should also hold stripers plus Big Creek. Follow the same pattern, find the bait and the stripers are nearby. The crappie bite is very strong on the deep brush piles limits are being caught using a small spoon or minnows. The white bass bite is strong on the flats by Cranfield Island and the big flat about Fouts using small spoons.
(updated 11-7-2018) Lou Gabric at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort said, “Norfork Lake fall fishing sure can be a lot of fun. I will admit that if you want striped bass, hybrid bass and white bass you will spend some time looking for them, but once you find them it is well worth the time.” He says large schools of white bass are currently roaming the flats in the morning hours and during the day. They tend to move into deeper water late in the day and start to relate to points in the mouths of coves. Lou says he tends to fish many different areas of the lake looking for fish in order to try to help his fishing guests find and catch fish. “I tell my wife that this is part of my job as a resort owner that is why I need to be on the lake so much.” White bass fishing, largemouth bass fishing and crappie fishing are the better bites on the lake as of Tuesday. Lou says he expects the striped bass bite to improve very shortly, if what he saw this morning is any indication. He found schooling and feeding fish in 22 feet of water, and at around 7 a.m. the striped bass were all high up in the water column. Casting out a quarter-ounce silver Kastmaster landed a nice striper. Then the whites showed up at all depths. Vertical-jigging a spoon or Kastmaster was giving Lou many hookups. As the sun came up, the fish continued to move deeper on the same flat. Lou says he finally lost the fish in about 35 feet of water. Topwater action for white bass and hybrids is sporadic. He says he has not been fortunate enough to find this action, but several of his resort guests have gotten into some nice topwater action over the last week. “Topwater action is happening somewhere on the lake, but you need to be in the right place at the right time! This will become more frequent based on past years’ experience.”
Lou says the largemouth bite has been very good for him over the week. In the mid-to-late mornings he has found schooling bass in 30-40 feet of water on large flats. Vertical-jigging for the bass has worked great, he adds. The schools of fish have stuck around for well over 45 minutes, so anglers can catch a limit very quickly. In the late afternoon, he says, he has changed tactics a little and moved into the secondary creeks. He has located large schools of bass as far back in the creeks as you can go, but still being in 27-30 feet of water. Secondary points in the small creeks have been productive locations, especially if the creek channel swings in close to the deeper shoreline. Jigging for these fish is working. He has also located some nice bass on the bluff lines where the bluff starts to transition to chunk rock. Crankbaits on calm days and spinnerbaits on windy days are good baits to try. Jig-and-pigs are also working very well. Crappie fishing has been good. Look for brush in 30-40 feet of water and the fish will be somewhere around the brush. At times they are buried inside of the brush and other times they will be suspended on top of the brush. Live bait is working great, but small spinners, jigs and crankbaits are also producing some nice fish. Norfork Lake's level is slowing rising with very little power generation coupled with rain for several days in a row. The lake level currently sits at 552.37 (basically normal pool). The main lake is fairly clear and most creeks and coves are somewhat stained. The surface water temperature Tuesday morning was 62.5-63.5 degrees.
(updated 11-7-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said last weekend that over the previous week Norfork Lake rose 0.6 feet to rest at 1.8 below seasonal power pool of 553.75 feet msl and 28 feet below the top of flood pool. The Norfork River wadable water every day. Seasonal power pool has been reset for the lakes in the White River system. All of the lakes in the White River System are now well below the top of power pool. The Norfork has fished well. There have been some nice midge and sporadic caddis hatches that have provided some limited topwater action. Navigate this stream with caution as things have changed a bit in the past year. There has been major gravel recruitment at the bottom of Mill Pond and the dock hole. The most productive flies have been small midge patterns (sizes 18, 20, 22) like ruby midges, root beer midges, zebra midges (black or red with silver wire and silver bead) and soft hackles (sizes 14, 16) like the Green Butt. Egg patterns have also been productive. Double-fly nymph rigs have been very effective. Try a small bead-headed nymph (zebra midge, Copper John or pheasant tail) suspended 18 inches below a brightly colored San Juan worm (hot fluorescent pink or cerise size 10). The fishing is better in the morning. John’s favorite rig has been a red fox squirrel nymph with a ruby midge dropper. Dry Run Creek is fishing much better. The browns have moved up into the creek. The hot flies have been sowbugs (size 14), Y2Ks (size 12) and various colored San Juan worms (worm brown, red, hot fluorescent pink and cerise size 10).
(updated 11-7-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said The Buffalo National River and Crooked Creek are high and off-color. The smallmouths are still active, although the water is cooling. John’s favorite fly is a Clouser minnow. Carefully check the water level before entering Crooked Creek or the Buffalo River. There are no dams on these streams. They both have large drainages and are prone to flooding during and following any rain event. The water can rise very quickly.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 1,118.05 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 1,121.00 msl).
(updated 11-14-2018) Bailey’s Beaver Lake Guide Service (479-366-8664) striper activity forecast for this week is good. Beaver Lake stripers are in fall transition mode and are heading into their winter locations. They are on the move, and being mobile/flexible will be key to finding them. Mike Bailey says they continue seeing some topwater action, so get those binoculars out and be on the lookout. For you diehard live baiters, fishing using weighted lines, balloons and downlines between the surface and 25-feet deep during daylight hours should get you some stripers. For the artificial baits you can try trolling umbrella rigs with white or chartreuse jigs/grubs or plugs like Rapala No. 14 Husky Jerks in black back or purple back colors, as well as Smithwick Rogues in similar colors in 5- to 6-inch model on planer boards to stagger your presentation. Down-rigging those baits will be effective as well, especially at night. You should also try casting Rat-L-Traps on points and bars at night. Make sure you do not keep striper under 20 inches and not more than three striper/hybrid or combination. Walleye must be 18 inches long with a limit of four. Fish location is greatly influenced by lake level and current flow. Current in Beaver Lake from generation will generally position fish on upstream or downstream edges of structure; check the daily lake level and flow data link on Bailey’s website. Mike also says live bait is always the go-to approach on Beaver Lake when fishing for trophy stripers. This week, water surface temperatures remain in the mid- to high 50s. Mike suggests checking out these hot spots on the mid- and upper sections of the lake: Point 5 (stripers are still being found over deep open water and near the tree/bluff lines between points 5 and 6), Rocky Branch, Larue (check the main channel bends and cuts as stripers move through on their way upstream), Highway 12 bridge (check mouth of the river and main lake structures, striper heading upriver), Prairie Creek (pay attention to areas around the islands and point 10. Striper still found over deep open water and near the tree/bluff lines during daylight hours, at night fish the shallows with jerkbaits and Rat-L-Traps) Blackburn Creek, Hickory Creek (check channel bends and gravel bars, watch for surfacing fish), War Eagle/White River junction, White River and War Eagle River.
Mike says walleye are in fall migration mode and can be found on main lake structures like points and gravel bars. Three-way rigging, down-rigging or using snap weights with Rapalas in natural colors for clear water, or chartreuse/orange and clown colors in areas of stained water, are effective – but hang on tight because the walleye and striper territories overlap some and you my hook more than you bargained for. Try Rapala Tail Dancers, Bagley Rumble B's, Flicker Shad, Bandit 300 Series and Arkie 350s in colors that include orange and chartreuse. Also try slow death rigs and spinner rigs on bottom bouncers on long points and humps near the channel rigged in orange/chartreuse.
(updated 11-14-2018) Southtown Sporting Goods (479-443-7148) said that the water level is normal and clarity is clear. The surface water temperature is in the mid- to high 50s. Crappie are good. Target 6-8 feet depth around the brush piles. Bass are fair. Anglers are using topwater lures as well as jigs, jerkbaits and Alabama-rigs. Also, they’re using small striped bass or shiners. Catfishing is good on cut bait and prepared bate. No reports on bream.
(updated 10-31-2018) Guide Austin Kennedy (479-244-0039) says, “Well, if we do not get a lot of rain soon, you will be able to walk to Spider Creek from Houseman Access. OK, it is not that bad, but it is close. Trout have not seemed to be too bothered by the lack of water, but the bite has slowed. However, the preferred method has been light terminal tackle, fished with various PowerBaits.” Austin says the hot spot this week has been between Spider Creek and Bertrand Access. However, you will not be able to get there by boat, you will have to hoof it. quarter-ounce spoons have also done the job at catching this past week. In the deeper water, the trout have been hitting on nightcrawlers fished on bottom. “That is all I have to report for this week. Get out and enjoy the awesome fall colors and the cool weather. It will be really cold soon enough. Have fun, stay safe and catch some fish,” he said.
(updated 11-14-2018) Lake Fayetteville Boat Dock (479-444-3476) said that not a lot of fishing has gone on in recent days. The water is stained and the surface water temperature is 50 degrees. The level is normal. Crappie reports were fair on jigs. Nothing else was reported among bream, bass or catfish.
(updated 11-14-2018) Lake Sequoyah Boat Dock (479-444-3475) reports that the water clarity is clear and the water level is normal. No surface water temperature was reported. Crappie are good on minnows or jigs. Bass are good on white Flukes. Catfishing is good on chicken liver and minnows. No reports on bream.
(updated 11-14-2018) Seth Boone at Lake Poinsett State Park said, “Lake Poinsett has a lot of life running through it, and with the rainfall there is actual water in it! Though, still no fish due to the renovation. We look forward to the repairs on the lake. For more information visit AGFC.com for more info on the renovation of Lake Poinsett.” While Lake Poinsett is closed to anglers until 2020 for extensive repairs, there are other lakes in the immediate area to check out, including Lake Charles and Lake Hogue. Also, the AGFC’s Family and Community Fishing Program is stocking the pond at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.
(updated 11-7-2018) Boxhound Marina (870-670-4496) said the clarity has become “very clear” with a normal level and a surface water temperature of 60 degrees. Crappie are good on minnows. Bass are good on crankbaits. Bream reports have been poor. Catfishing of late has been poor.
(updated 11-7-2018) Mark Crawford with springriverfliesandguides.com (870-955-8300) said water levels are running at 310 cfs and water clarity is clear. There has been plenty of rain lately. Last week the Spring was pushing 250 cfs and now it is at 310 cfs. That’s about a 6-inch rise in river level. It was very low and is still below average of 350 cfs. The river remained clear all week. The trout have been hitting hard. Somedays olive, brown or black Woollies; somedays Y2Ks; somedays a good hatch comes up and large nymphs work great. Most of the brown trout being caught are on olive or brown Woollies on a slow strip upstream. You’ve got to make them work for it. Cold weather moving in this weekend will help to get the big trout feeding. Layer up, stay warm, and stay dry. The Spring River has a very slick river bottom. Use a wading staff and go slowly.
(updated 11-7-2018) John Berry of Berry Brothers Guide Service in Cotter (870-435-2169) said the Spring River is navigable. This is a great place to wade fish, when they are running water on the White and Norfork rivers. Canoe season is over. Be sure to wear cleated boots and carry a wading staff. There is a lot of bedrock that can get very slick. The hot flies have been olive Woolly Buggers with a bit of flash (size 10), cerise and hot pink San Juan worms (size 10) and Y2Ks (size 10).
(updated 11-7-2018) Triangle Sports (870-793-7122) said that after being nearly 6 feet low last week, the rainfall over the past week pushed the level high by 6 feet and there was no fishing to report.
Arkansas River (Pine Bluff Pool)
(updated 10-31-2018) The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Bass Fishing Team had no report.
Arkansas River (Pool 2)
(updated 11-7-2018) Austin Davidson, park interpreter at Cane Creek State Park, said that with wet and cold weather dominating the forecast, fishing is a little slow at Cane Creek Lake. Once the weather clears and cooler temperatures set in, though, fishing is expected to explode. With cooler temps on the way the crappie will begin to get more active. Shad will start to school near the surface even more, and the feeding frenzy will begin. Crappie will be the main goal for most anglers. Fish shallow with an “electric chicken” colored jig or a live minnow. The best place to be will be the courtesy dock down below the campground. Just remember that if you’re not camping at Cane Creek State Park, you need to park your vehicle at the bathhouse and walk down. Do not park at a campsite. Bass will also be biting shiners and any baits that look like shiners. As usual, cooler water means fishing with a shallow-running square-billed bait, painted in some shad-like color, and bounced off as much structure as possible. The bigger and clumsier the bait, the better. Catfish will be moving into the shallows as well to eat all of the foodstuffs washed into the water by the recent rains. They will also be eating what shad they can catch. Fish in 10 feet of water or less with shiners drug across the bottom. Cut bait will also work well during this time.
(updated 10-31-2018) The lake was drawn down about 6-7 feet and while the AGFC completes vegetation and fish cover work on the shoreline through September. The lake will rise with rainfall over the next several weeks and will cover the new anchoring of cut gum trees on the shallow shoreline areas. There was little fishing going on during the hot days of September. During the drawdown, tree stumps are showing in the coves toward the east and northeast of the lake; those are good areas to fish for the bass as the temperature cools down this month.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation at 260.15 feet msl (normal conservation pool: 259.20 msl).
(updated 11-14-2018) Mike Siefert at Millwood Lake Guide Service urges anglers to continue to use extreme caustion in river navigation this week due to recent thunderstorms, 2-foot muddy rise, and broken timber along Little River. Wide debris fields are making navigation hazardous in some areas along the river. Be vigilant, wear a life jacket and kill switch if navigation is attempted during the current discharge and high-release rates. As of Monday the lake is on a continual pool reduction and falling, after thre recent and rapid 2-foot muddy rise, with recent rain and gate changes at the dam by the Army Corps of Engineers. Millwood is about 14 inches above normal conservation pool at 260.5 feet msl; the discharge was recently decreased to around 12,000 CFS for Little River, according to the Corps. The tailwater below the dam continues rising, and as of Monday was about 242 feet msl with Corps gate release at the dam. Water temps dropped over the past week (45 degrees early to 50 degrees later under full sun). Be sure and check the most recent lake level of Millwood Lake on the guide service’s website linked above, or at the Army Corps of Engineers website, for updated gate release changes and inflow rates with rising and falling lake levels and conditions.
Mike says conditions with the recent thunderstorms, rain, rising surface pool, and high win, remain about the same as last week, but the bass and crappie bites are beginning to recover. The bite for bass all but turned off for a few days last week from recent muddy rise and current along Little River. Recently we have found bass in the clearer areas of the back of the oxbows, willing to randomly feed again, and crankbaits are the best response we have been observing. The surface-breaking largemouth bass, Kentucky bass and a few white bass have all but disappeared, but the schools of largemouths, spots and whites continue to follow shad schools. Best locations over the past few weeks were at mouths of creeks and sloughs dumping into the back of the oxbows on points, ranging from 10-12 feet deep with dead lily pad stems and stumps. Shad are beginning to congregate in the creek channels with the reduction in surface temperatures over the past week. Bass continue following these shad schools into numerous creek channels and ditches, and were randomly hitting crankbaits and Rat-L-Traps in the creeks between 10-14 feet of depth. Surface-feeding activity levels have diminished with current conditions. The best crankbaits drawing reactions over the past few weeks were Bomber Fat Free Shads in Tennessee Shad and Citrus Shad, or white. Rat-L-Traps and SpinTraps in chrome/blue and shad patterns like Millwood Magic, Sexy Bone Nova, Blueback Herring, or Liv-N Chrome are still drawing random reactions in creek channels with any cypress trees, standing timber and stumps. Brush Hogs were taking a few random, chunky, 3-4 pound largemouths in depths of the creek channels from 7-9 feet deep on stumps, and on secondary points with stumps from 5-9 feet deep. Grasshopper, Blackberry and Green Pumpkin or Red Shad colors seemed to draw fair reactions from solitary Bass not chasing shad. Large schools of white bass were also following shad in the oxbows, and roaming Little River after the rain and thunderstorms. These white bass are following the same schools of shad along Little River and the oxbows as the largemouth, and were back to randomly hitting Fat Free Shads, Rat-L-Traps, Cordell Hammered Spoons with red/white bucktails, and Rocket Shads. Crappie improved after the recent muddy rise of the lake and were beginning to stack vertically over brush and tops near standing timber as long as the brush and timber are out of muddy current of the river. Blakemore Roadrunners in white and chartreuse were taking some slabs later in the day last week. Catfish continue biting well on yo-yos and trotlines in Mud Lake, Horseshoe Lake and McGuire Lake up Little River. Chicken gizzards or livers, punch bait and any cut baits were working well over the weekend and late last week.
(updated 11-7-2018) Sportsman’s One Stop in El Dorado (870-863-7248) says some nice crappie being caught. No reports on bass.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 549.65 feet msl (full pool: 548.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-7-2018) Jason Lenderman of JL Guide Service (870-490-0804) says the lake level is 1.6 feet above full pool of 548 feet msl and has risen almost 10 feet in the last two weeks with the rains. Water temps have made it to the mid-60s. The bass are moving into their fall patterns and will only get better as the water cools. Super Spook Jr’s, Zara Puppies, Booyah Hard Knockers and small swimbaits are seeing some action on main lake points with some schooling action taking place throughout the day, especially early and late. Shaky head rigged Yum Finesse Worms and drop-shots rigged with Yum Kill Shots or Sharpshooters are working OK on main lake points around brush as well. The crankbait bite is picking up as well using shad colored Bandit crankbaits and chrome Booyah Hard Knocker or One Knocker. A lot of the fish have moved shallow with the rise in the water and can be caught with War Eagle Spinnerbaits or Booyah Finance Jigs. Cotton Cordell or War Eagle Spoons are working well on flats adjacent to creek channels 20-30 feet deep but have slowed with the new water. Crappie are really coming on. They can be caught in 15-30 foot brush with minnows or Kalin’s Grubs.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 406.97 feet msl (full pool: 408.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-31-2018) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said crappie are biting great on minnows and jigs 10-15 feet deep on submerged brush where there is deep water close by. The white bass and hybrids are starting their migration toward the river. Water temp is 64 degrees.
De Queen Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 443.16 feet msl (full pool: 437.00 feet msl).
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 534.70 feet msl (full pool: 526.00 feet msl).
White Oak Lake
(updated 11-7-2018) Sportsman’s One Stop (870-863-7248) in El Dorado says a few bream are being caught on worms. Bass are biting well on crankbaits and soft plastics. Crappie are starting to bite on the upper side. Use jigs or shiners. No reports on catfish.
(updated 11-7-2018) Lucky Landing (479-641-7615) reported that clarity is “pretty clear,” and the lake is up about 2.5 feet above normal. Surface water temperature is 56 degrees. Crappie are fair on minnows and jigs. Bream are poor. Bass reports were poor. Catfishing has been poor.
Lake Catherine (Below Carpenter Dam)
For weekly flow releases from Carpenter Dam, visit www.entergy.com/hydro.
(updated 11-14-2018) Shane Goodner, owner of Catch’em All Guide Service, reports that the winter drawdown is now complete for Lake Hamilton and Catherine. A 5-foot draw is now in place and will remain at this level until March 1, 2019, when both lakes are scheduled for refilling. Presently, flood gates are open below Carpenter Dam to help rid the lakes of excess rainfall of the past week. Dangerous conditions exist when flood gates are open, and boaters and fishermen are advised to stay off the water until the gates are closed and normal flows return. Rainbow trout are now stocked in the Carpenter Dam tailrace, although little fishing has taken place due to the current conditions. Bank fishermen will be able to catch trout on waxworms or mealworms floated just off the bottom with a marshmallow floater. Redworms or nightcrawlers will also be effective presented in the same manner. Fly-fisherman can wade to areas that hold numbers of trout and can catch limits of fish casting egg patterns in white or yellow under a strike indicator. San Juan worms in red or hot pink will draw strikes from hungry trout in areas close to the main channel where some current is flowing. Spin fisherman casting Super Dupers in silver or gold over current flow will have success as rainbows will be feeding on injured threadfin shad. Rock structure provides a perfect ambush point for trout chasing baitfish. Trout fishing starts slowly in November as lower numbers are stocked this time of year, so anglers need to use patience and use different techniques until one is found that produces results. No striper or white bass fishing has been done in the treacherous flows near the dam. Anyone planning to navigate the Carpenter Dam tailrace is cautioned to remain off the water until safe conditions return and always wear a life jacket and observe the boating and park regulations.
(updated 11-14-2018) Charles Morrison at Classic Catch Guide Service (479-647-9945) said water temperature ranging 46-51 degrees. The main river channel is dirty. Creeks are clear and some are still clearing. The fall bite is at its peak. Largemouth bass hav been excellent on jerkbaits, Alabama rigs, Rat-L-Traps, jig and Bamboozie, and plastic crawls with orange have been good in the dirtier water. White bass and stripers have been excellent on Rat-L-Traps, spoons, spinnerbaits and swimbaits on or off the A-rig. Crappie have been excellent with various colors of jigs, and working minnows is always a good choice. Upriver the crappie have been around 5-6 feet deep; in mid-river they’re at 7-10 feet deep. Catfish have been excellent. Stick to the Clearwater. Blood bait, worms and cut bait of various sorts have been working just fine.
(updated 11-14-2018) Greeson Marine, hometown dealer of the Arkansas born-and-bred, all-welded Xpress aluminum fishing boat in Hot Springs, reports water temps in the mid- to high 50s with water color on the stained side. Lake Hamilton has drawn down its water levels 3-5 feet or more in areas for yearly dock maintenance. If you are used to running wide open across the flats DO NOT DO IT! Fishing reports are very mixed and so are the fish trying to adapt to winter and the falling water levels. Bass are reported up the creak channels in 5-15 feet depending on whether the sun is shining. Worms on Texas-rigged setups are still doing really well. What is struggling is baitfish patterns. Most anglers are used to some sort of hard bait this time of year and it’s not working out. Worms, jigs and creature baits are working shockingly well when dragged off of main lake points adjacent to deep water, BUT only on rocky areas. The sun is heating up rocks and the fish are hugging the heat. Crappie are turning on right now in the brush piles off the main channel and in or on creek channel arms. Jigs and minnows or both will get them. Good luck out there and wear your life jackets now that the water is cold.
(updated 11-7-2018) Capt. Darryl Morris at Family Fishing Trips said crappie are biting on jigs and minnows fished 8-15 feet deep on brush piles. Multispecies are being caught jigging spoons 40-plus feet of water just off the bottom.
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 354.69 feet msl (full pool: 342.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-7-2018) Andrews Bait Shop and More (479-272-4025) said the water remains murky. No surface water temperature was recorded. Water level is normal. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs. Bass are good on spinnerbaits and crankbaits. Catfish are good with worms and blood bait. No reports on bream.
(updated 11-14-2018) Good Ole Boys Trading Post (479-272-4710) had no report.
As of Monday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 577.82 feet msl (full pool: 578.00 feet msl).
(updated 11-7-2018) Todd Gadberry at Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (870-867-2191/800-832-2276 out of state) said black bass are very good. Live brood minnows and a drop-shot finesse worm are best at this time. Walleye are good. Try using a C.C. Spoon near brush for these fish. Stripers are excellent on brood minnows. Major creek mouths and main lake points on the western and central parts of the lake are the best for these fish. No reports on bream. Crappie are good and being caught with jigs or minnows in 15-20 feet of water near brush. Catfish are fair. Cut bait, live bait and stink bait are all producing good bags. Water temperature has ranged 62-68 degrees this week. The clarity has a light stain. Lake level earlier this week was at 577.44 feet msl. Contact the Mountain Harbor guides – Mike Wurm, 501-622-7717; Chris Darby, 870-867-7822; and Jerry Bean, 501-282-6104 – for more information.
(updated 11-14-2018) Lisa Spencer at Lisa’s Bait Shop (501-778-6944) in Benton said her customers report still doing great on No. 4 crappie minnows hitting the brushtops.
Blue Mountain Lake
As of Wednesday, the Army Corps of Engineers reports the lake’s elevation was 396.54 feet msl (full pool: 384.00 feet msl).
(updated 10-24-2018) Natalie Faughn, ranger at Mississippi River State Park (870-295-4040), said she’s heard some good reports from Bear Creek, depending on what you're fishing for. Folks have been catching some good-size catfish using stink bait and homemade bait. “We have also had some fall bass fishermen out and about this week who have had some luck with various artificial lures, but nothing of notable size. Same bass report for Storm Creek Lake down in Phillips County,” she said.
(updated 10-24-2018) See above.
The Cook’s Lake fishing season for youth under age 16 and for mobility-impaired anglers has ended. It will resume the first weekend of March 2019.